A new-look OCs A team have made an excellent start to the season in division one of the Chelmsford & District Table Tennis League.

With a team that included both new signing Paul Lucas and Terry Dowsett OCs A ran out 8-2 winners against Rawreth A. Lucas stayed unbeaten although he had to pull out all the stops to get the better of Kim Shead 3-2 (7-11, 11-8, 6-11, 11-9, 15-13) in the opening game of the night.

Last year’s champions Maldon A beat Liberal 9-1 with Trevor Lloyd and Alex Abbott both winning their three singles. However, it was the game that they didn’t win that will cause the biggest stir. Adam Buxton scored an excellent 3-1 (7-11, 11-9, 11-9, 11-7) win over John Poysden.

Promoted Writtle A impressed as well. Matthew Brown and Lee McHugh were both undefeated as they beat Danbury B 8-2. With the addition of 2017 M&G Investments Chelmsford Men’s Singles champion Duncan Taylor to their ranks this team could cause a few surprises on this showing.

Last year’s runners-up Chelmsford A have played twice. They beat a new look Hatfield Peveral A 7-3 after Wal Bada and Casey Cross had carried all before them. Chelmsford A also drew 5-5 against Rawreth A. Bada was again undefeated. Charles Sweeney won twice for Rawreth whilst Rawreth’s Paul Churn bagged an excellent win by beating Eddie Ogbebor 3-2 (5-11, 9-11, 11-9, 11-6, 11-9).

Danbury A, with a line-up of Gary Young, Peter Mynard and Dave Richardson, should do well and Young was undefeated as they beat Writtle B 8-2. Paul Sturton scored two fine wins for the losers and he battled hard to get the better of Mynard 3-2 (6-11, 12-10, 2-11, 11-6, 11-8).

Galleywood A have also made a winning start. James Hick scored a fine hat-trick as they beat Chelmsford B 7-3. Hicks beat Simon Jarvis 3-2 (11-9, 11-9, 7-11 6-11, 11-5) in a well contested opening encounter.

OCs B are the week’s big winners in division two. Trevor Carter and Steve Nothcott were unbeaten as they overcame Hatfield Peverel B 9-1. Northcott battled through against Dave Fiddeman in a humdinger of a game which ended 3-2 (11-9, 11-2, 10-12 10-12, 15-13).

Last year‘s division three champions Maldon B should definitely be in with a shout for honours. Ciaran Whelan led them to a 6-4 win over Danbury D. Whelan beat Sam Lowman, the best of the Danbury players, 3-1 (7-11, 13-11, 11-8, 11-5).

Maldon C also made an impressive start by beating Writtle C 8-2. John Holland and Merv Perriman won their three singles and Dawn Baldry won twice. It was the performance of Perriman which caught the eye here. He beat John Gagg 3-2 (9-11, 6-11, 11-8, 11-8, 11-7) and Dave Calleja also in five (11-6, 11-8, 3-11, 8-11, 11-9).

Chelmsford C ran out 6-4 winners against Danbury E after Mike Johnston and Waseem Qureshi had both won their three singles whilst the match between Danbury C and OCs C finished as a 5-5 draw.

Neil Want was unbeaten for the Danbury team and he completed his hat-trick by getting the better of Charles Yeung 3-1 (11-6, 11-8, 7-11, 12-14, 11-9) in the last game of the night.

Chelmsford D impressed in division three. Keith Martin won his three singles and he was supported by Connor Payne and Dave Parker (who both won twice) as they beat OCs F 8-2. Martin fought back very strongly to beat Ashton Parker 3-2 (2-11, 6-11, 11-7, 12-10, 11-8).

Writtle D also won 8-2. Trevor Collin led the way with a hat-trick against Writtle E. Peter Layzell overcame Steve Siggs in five (8-11, 11-7, 4-11, 11-7, 11-9) in the closest game of the night.

In a hard-fought match in which no player stayed undefeated, Danbury F beat OCs E 6-4.

Maldon D did well to beat Danbury G 7-3. Shirley Carroll in particular excelled. She beat both Nicky Ford 3-2 (6-11, 12-10, 3-11, 13-11, 12-10) and Norman Smith 3-1 (11-6, 11-13, 13-11, 11-7) in her impressive hat-trick.

Teamwork saw OCs D sneak through 6-4 against Danbury H. Mike Hayes, Gareth Joice and Dave Porter all won twice in another match (fairly unique in the middle division) where no one player stayed unbeaten. Newcomer Luca Bailey made his mark by beating Joice 3-2 (11-7, 8-11, 8-11, 11-5, 11-8).

Writtle F are the early leaders in division four. Malcolm Storey and Brian Steward led the way as they beat Galleywood B 9-1. Brian Steward’s hat-trick included a 3-2 (11-9, 11-5, 9-11, 9-11, 11-4) win over Ron Salton, the best of the Galleywood players.

Danbury J are also off to a convincing start. They beat OCs G 8-2. Rob Kneale and Dave Powell both won their three singles. It was touch and go for Kneale who just beat James Mitty 3-2 (11-6, 8-11, 5-11, 11-9, 13-11).

The match between Chelmsford E and Danbury K ended as a 5-5 draw. Chelmsford’s Amanda Hogger stole the show with her excellent 3-2 (6-11, 11-7, 11-7, 5-11, 11-7) victory over Mick Richardson.

Hatfield Peverel C beat Chelmsford E 6-4 and it was the performance of newcomer Martin Archie that stood out. He won his three singles in convincing style.

Division five can be difficult to call as teams often improve dramatically over the season. Maldon E, led by Garry Eames and Denis Crapnell, beat Chelmsford H 7-3 and they should be in the mix. Galleywood C, led by Gary Copsey, beat Chelmsford G 6-4 and you wouldn’t expect Copsey to lose many at this level. Fast improving Aidan Noguchi won twice.

Chelmsford J (Jacqueline Smith, Paul Bullock and Peter Davenport) ran out 8-2 winners against Hatfield Peverel E and on that showing you would expect them to do well. Philip West won the week’s tightest game, beating Jacqueline Smith 3-2 (12-14, 19-17, 10-12, 11-4, 13-11).

Bullock’s success is an interesting one as he has entered the league after taking up the sport at the Bat ‘n’ Chat sessions at Riverside Leisure Centre which take place on Tuesday mornings from 10am to noon and are staffed by qualified coaches. The emphasis is on having fun and sociability and it is hoped that other players will follow Paul’s example and join the League.

OCs H complete this week’s action with their 7-3 win over Hatfield Peverel D. Michael Lucy led the way with three wins and this included a five-set success against Philip West who he beat 10-12, 11-6, 5-11, 11-8, 11-6.

* Chelmsford League Committee member Paul Nicol has provided this obituary on Colin Gooday, a Chelmsford League stalwart who sadly passed away in June, aged 76.

Colin was the Chairman of Chelmsford Table Tennis Club for many years before he retired from the role after a diagnosis of cancer just before Christmas 2017.

He was not only an active Chairman, but a guiding hand on the tiller and a true club stalwart, doing all kinds of tasks that needed attending to such as repairing nets and barriers and collecting fees as well as the more obvious jobs such as organising AGMs, providing lifts and managing Junior teams.

Colin was a strong player as a Junior and like so many players of his era he started playing at the Chelmsford YMCA Club, in 1953 when the likes of Mark Sweeting and Alan Clancy were the shining lights.

He retired from the game when he got married and took it up again in the 1980s when his son Neil showed an interest. Neil went on to become a very good local league player and Colin was able to see a third generation of player from that family make his mark with his grandson Ryan becoming one of the best Junior players in the county and winning countless trophies in the Chelmsford League.

Colin and his wife June shared a commitment to supporting people with intellectual disabilities and Colin was the kind of club chairman who went out of his way to make sure that all club members felt included, whatever their playing standard. Fittingly, he had been presented with a Life Membership Award by the Chelmsford Club in May.

The church was packed for his funeral on 16 July showing just how many lives he had touched by his charitable work and love for the sports of table tennis and golf.